Sunday, 22 February 2015

At least 41 dead after overcrowded ferry sinks in Bangladesh river

An overcrowded ferry has sunk in a Bangladesh river leaving at least 41 people including 11 children dead as rescuers search for missing passengers.

The ferry collided with a cargo vessel and sank within minutes on the Padma river, the second deadly boat accident in a fortnight in the country, which has a history of ferry tragedies.

"Divers have recovered 41 bodies. The dead included 11 children and seven women," local police chief Rakibuz Zaman said, updating an earlier toll of 38.

Officials said they did not know the exact number of people missing, but said search and rescue efforts would continue through the night, with the aid of floodlights from other ferries on the river.

Rescuers were unloading bodies from small boats some 70km from the capital Dhaka at the Paturia ferry terminal in the country's northwest, where grieving relatives have gathered to identify them.

"We found one body but five are still missing. We were returning home after the opening of a temple," Hindu holy man Kumud Ranjan Goswami said of his colleagues.

Survivors said the MV Mostofa was overcrowded with about 70-150 passengers crammed into the upper and lower decks, leaving them scrambling to find their loved ones when the tragedy struck.

"I was holding my mother's hand when the cargo boat hit our ferry from behind," an 18-year-old who gave his name as Al Amin told AFP at the terminal.

"Within two minutes the ferry was sunk. Before I realised I was washed away to the middle of the river.

"I swam and a ferry rescued me. But I don't know what happened to my mom."

Police chief Mr Zaman said some 50 people "swam ashore or were rescued by other vessels".

Bangladeshi ferries do not normally keep passenger lists, making it difficult to establish how many are missing after an accident.

An official said a salvage vessel was on its way to raise the sunken ferry, adding that the master of the cargo ship and two other crew had been arrested.

The Padma river is one of the largest in the delta nation, and boats are the main form of travel in many of Bangladesh's remote rural areas, especially in the south and northeast.

Local newspaper Prothom Alo quoted one survivor, Hafizur Rahman, as saying the cargo ship hit the boat 15 minutes after departure - causing it to overturn and trapping many passengers.

"I was on the deck of the ferry and fell into the river. Those who were on the deck were able to come out but none of the passengers inside could get out," Mr Rahman told the paper.

Boat capsizes are common in Bangladesh, one of Asia's poorest nations, which is criss-crossed by more than 230 rivers.

Experts blame poorly maintained vessels, flaws in design and overcrowding for most of the tragedies.

This month, at least five people including a minor were killed when an overloaded ferry carrying some 200 passengers capsized in an estuary in the south of the country.

About 50 people were also killed in August last year when a crowded ferry sank in rough weather in the Munshiganj district.

Naval officials have said more than 95 percent of Bangladesh's hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized boats do not meet minimum safety regulations.

Sunday 22 February 2015

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Bangladesh ferry capsizes with 100 passengers on board

A Bangladeshi ferry carrying more than 100 passengers capsized on Sunday in the Padma river, 70 km (44 miles) north of the capital, Dhaka, police said.

Bidhan Tripura, police superintendent of Manikganj district, said the ferry was hit by a cargo trawler but that no casualties had yet been reported.

Low-lying Bangladesh, with extensive inland waterways and slack safety standards, suffers regular ferry disasters, with deaths sometimes running into the hundreds.

The ferry was heading to Paturia from Daulatdia in Rajbari.

Ten days ago, at least three people have died after a boat carrying Muslim pilgrims travelling to an annual Islamic congregation capsized in a river in southern Bangladesh.

The overloaded ferry with 200 passengers aboard sank on Friday Feb 13 in the Taltoli estuary leading to the Bay of Bengal, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of the capital, Dhaka, police said.

Most of the passengers on the boat, which departed from Bangladesh’s southernmost coastal town of Kuakata, were heading to a religious gathering in the southwestern Bangladesh district of Barguna, said Babul Akhter, an official at Barguna police station.

While rescuers in Bangladesh have managed to retrieve the bodies after the boat capsized, still five passengers are unaccounted for, Akhter said, adding, “Most of the passengers were able to swim ashore.”

Ferry accidents are common in riverine low-lying Bangladesh with slack safety standards. Casualties of appalling shipping accidents sometimes run above hundreds.

Last August, Bangladesh for the first time arrested the owner of a ferry which sank resulting in the death of 110 people.

Sunday 22 February 2015

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Dukki mine disaster: Bodies of seven miners recovered on fourth day

At least seven dead bodies of laborers have been recovered today (Sunday) from a coal mine in Duki area of Loralai, Dunya News reported.

According to sources, fourth day of evacuating the laborers from the coal mine is underway in Loralai.

Rescue teams and Levies personnel’s pulled out four bodies from the mine last night whereas three were evacuated early morning today.

Four of the laborers have been identified as Jin Bakht, Mir Alim, Aqal Zaman and Azeem Khan.

According to rescue teams, the bodies of the laborers are burned and mutilated.

Mining industry of Loralai earns hundreds of millions rupees but in case of such accident, there are no rescue measurements for the labourers.

Earlier, the coal mine collapsed on Thursday morning when suddenly the mine was filled with gas and a blast occurred.

As many as 20 miners got stuck under the collapsed mine while at least eight died on the spot. After 24 hours, 11 laborers were rescued alive but unconscious.

Rescue team from Quetta could make it to Loralai after 10 hours of the accident.

Tehseeldar of Dukki, Habibur Rehman told Dunya News that dead bodies of the miners to be retrieved are 2200 feet down the earth.

Sunday 22 February 2015

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